Music City U.S.A

Studio Trix

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By now everyone who is conscious on the planet has heard we live in a disposable society.  Recently we had a major breakdown with our equipment in the recording studio.  I started calling all the electronic repair places I could find listed in the phone book to see about getting our gear repaired so we could continue doing business.  The first technician told me there would be a $75 bench fee to diagnose the problem.  In the event that there were no problems detected there was no refund on the bench fee.  I didn't think that sounded right so I called the manufacturer.  They told me I would have to find the original box and all packaging that came with the equipment and to ship it to them for repair.  The equipment I am talking about at that moment was 5 years old.  All the boxes and packing supplies that came with the purchase were tossed in the dumpster years ago.  I was also told if I could find all the original packing that it could take 6 - 8 weeks to get it back.  In the meantime we kept getting further and further behind in the studio work.  We then found on line a new and up-graded version of what we were using and it was on sale.  We opted to purchase all new gear and toss the old.  Just this week we found out our equipment has been discontinued and no repair facilities will be able to help us in the event it doesn't work any longer.  So should we repair or toss every time a crisis comes up?  I hope you don't have to make that decision none too soon.  It is costly and frustrating beyond belief. 

WHO OWNS THE MASTERS ?

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STUDIO TRIX BY KEITH BRADFORD


If you rent a recording studio, and pay for the musicians, back up singers, engineer, mix down time, mastering and don't have in writing that you own the MASTERS you just shot yourself in the foot.  This is true even if you hire a Producer.  Provided you pay all the costs involved you are the true owner of the MASTERS.  All too often either the studio or the producer will try and lay claim to the MASTERS even when you paid for all of it.  Make sure there is a complete understanding up-front before you even enter the recording studio of who will own the MASTERS. 

 

On the other hand if a producer takes you into the studio and covers all the costs involved with the project then he owns the MASTERS.  Hopefully he will try and get a record/distribution deal and you will receive an artist royalty derived from the sales.  These royalties are all negotiable and vary in amount depending on if the artist is unknown or an already established act. 

 

Don't be afraid to ask from the very beginning of the project who owns the MASTERS.

The Stool

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by Keith Bradford

 

You should always open your show with an up-tempo song with a lot of movement on stage.

 

Always do at least 3 songs back to back at the beginning of the concert before you start talking.
By now you are ready to talk and catch your breath and the audience wants to hear what you have to say also. Your song selection depends on the age group of your audience as well as other factors. Case in point while playing for an all male prison show you wouldn’t want to sing love songs.
One thing is certain that a good patriotic song always goes over well these days.
Somewhere in your show bring a stool out on stage and bring it close to the front of the stage. This is where you sing the most heart wrenching song in your list. Before you sing the song you should go into a short monologue about the song. Because you are closer to the audience than you have been the whole show and because you are sitting just like they are there is a natural bond happening between you and them. You are suddenly at their level and not standing over them.
At end of song get rid of the stool and resume high energy level.
If you are lucky enough to have a hit or some hits keep them toward the end of the show.
Never open your show with the most popular song you have because where do you go now.
You just gave them what they came to hear and you got no where to go.
The music business YA GOTTA LUV IT

Who Makes The Money?

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Story: Keith Bradford

 


Recently I was quite impressed with the appearance of the tellers in a very popular bank I visited.  Each bank employee was in a very nice outfit and all of the women appeared to have a recent manicure.  It seemed to be the perfect job for anyone that don't mind working inside.  Later that week I found out that the janitorial service employees of that bank make more money per hour than the tellers. 

 

Don't get me wrong; ``those guys and gals looked mighty spiffy in their 3 piece suits and dresses but it disturbed me to find out they don't make as much money as the janitor.  That prompted me to do some further investigation on the money split in the Music Business.  It was interesting to find out the road manager for an artist as an example, makes more than the artist in some cases. 

 

By the time the artist pays all the expenses involved with a tour there is very little left.  This is not the case with huge major stars.  I am talking about acts with only one or two hits under their belt. 


The star or the one out front getting all of the attention is not always the moneymaker.   Sometimes it is quite difficult to determine who makes the money. 

 

The Music Business, Ya Gotta Luv It.

THE ABC’s

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Story: Keith Bradford

 

 Mention ABC and the first thing you think about is the American Broadcasting Company.  I suppose some may think of the first 3 letters of the alphabet.  When I attended the CMA Music Fest last year in Nashville, TN I heard several comments from the fans while leaving the main show.  

 

The one I heard the most was, "That was ANYTHING BUT COUNTRY."  It is hard to believe that millions of Country Music fans have this same sentiment about today's Country Music.  The general consensus is that the sound of Country Music as they knew it is gone.  It has been replaced with a slicker production and in most cases a much more progressive beat than what they grew to know as Country Music.  

 

The industry calls it progress.  The record sales continue to plummet.  The fans are listening to their CD and or cassette collection and not listening to the radio.  Could it have something to do with the fact that today's Country Music is ALL BUT COUNTRY?  

 

The Music Business, Ya Gotta Luv It.


 

The TV Audition

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Story:Keith Bradford

 

Never go to an audition with songs you don’t know that well. Always do songs you can do in your sleep. The camera doesn’t lie. It shows that you are nervous, or confident, and it has no mercy.

You may feel you have sung those songs a million times and you want to try something new but remember the audition staff more than likely has never heard you sing these songs.

 

Don’t get me wrong you have to stay on top of your game if you are gonna keep up. You have to learn all the new songs but unless you are 100% sure of yourself on a certain song than stay away from it on your audition.

Try to stay away from apologizing for having a sore throat or a cold. If you didn’t tell them they probably wouldn’t even have known. Now that you let the cat out of the bag they will be listening that much harder for imperfections.

 

If you are allowed 2 songs always do a fast one and a slow one. If you are having problems that day and one of your songs has a lot of range in it consider changing it to something less strenuous. It is better to hit the notes right on than go for a high note and crack.

 

Dress as if you were performing on stage . People listen with their eyes. TV especially is a visual form of entertainment.

 

Verbal Slip-ups

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Story: Keith Bradford

 

As humans we rely very heavily on verbal communication as part of our daily routine.  We have all at one time or another tried to get a sentence out and flubbed our words and experienced what we call "tongue-tied."  

 

An interesting related phenomenon is that as a person we stumble on certain words that others have no difficulty with.  This also works in the opposite in that we may breeze right through certain words with proficiency and others may find those same words difficult if not impossible to say properly.  

 

An example of abuse is the words ‘conscious’ and ‘conscience’.  Now they both kind of sound alike but ‘conscious’ means to be aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, while ‘conscience’ means the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action. 

 

 I don't expect every entertainer to become a linguist but if you are giving a presentation and are a little unsure of a certain word or two you are far better off replacing that word with one that means what you are trying to say but yet you know the meaning is correct.  The public doesn't really care if you use a 5-cent word or a $5.00 word.  

 

GPS-Get Professional Songs

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Story: Keith Bradford

 

I prefer to say that GPS stands for GET PROFESSIONAL SONGS instead of global positioning system.  You have worked hard getting a budget together, picking out your favourite recording studio, scheduled the best studio musicians you can get and the day of the session has arrived.  It is time to make those songs of yours shine.  

 

But what good is it to shine an old car that won't run?  Or to pour perfume on a pig?  The best producer in the world may be able to get you a mild hit with an inferior song but most likely these days he may not even be able to do that much.  There is an old saying, "A great song doesn't care who sings it."  It is no longer acceptable to have a good song to record.  Nowadays you must have GREAT songs.  

 

The competition for airplay and subsequent sales is more demanding now than it has ever been in the history of making records.  The only time it was any harder than it is right now was during World War II.  Get professional songs before spending your money. If you want any chance at all for success on your recordings it is imperative you find the best songs available.  

 

The Music Business, YA GOTTA LUV IT.

The Writing Is On The Wall

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By Keith Bradford

 

The old saying, "The writing is on the wall," of course does not refer to words written on a wall.  "The writing on the wall" (or "the handwriting on the wall" or "the writing's on the wall"), an idiom, is a portent of doom or misfortune. It originates in the Biblical book of Daniel—where supernatural writing foretells the demise of the Babylonian Empire. The phrase is widely used in language and literature.

 

Basically any gesture spoken or otherwise can be intended as a wake up call.  For example if your boss comes up to you this year and asks if you would like to play Santa Claus at the annual company Christmas party, then you might want to consider losing some weight.  In the music business if your band leader suggests lowering the key on certain songs in your repertoire, it is a pretty good indication that you are no longer hitting the high notes. Many times the recipient does not see these things as the writing on the wall but rather a slam or put down. 

 

If the engineer tells you at a recording session, "You might want to check your tuning," more often than not the musician will say I just checked it with  the tuner and it's fine.  You can't look up on the wall and see a bunch of writing giving you a blueprint for life but you can watch and listen for tell tale signs. 

 

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